Separated by a thousand miles, we head to church with the rest of our family. While my mother peers into the casket, we drop the boat into the river on a sunny January day. Water drips off the oars after every stroke. Tears of sadness and joy stain the faces of those in attendance. After the service we all look up at the same blue sky as the sun warms our tender cheeks.
We are all lucky. My grandmother graced this earth for 85 years, and for each of mine, she cared for our family with a loving touch. Two summers earlier she was able to sit on my porch sipping lemonade, both of my kids racing around her feet. Four generations under one roof and the circle of life never more apparent.
My daughter, her oldest granddaughter, was three with a vocabulary and grasp of the world that was growing by the minute. Alzheimer’s had clutched my grandmother and she was on an opposite trajectory. For a brief, blissful moment in time the two were mentally and emotionally in nearly the same place. Watching them together was priceless. Recalling that moment simultaneously brings a smile to my face and causes tears to well in my eyes.
Leaving the church, leather-soled dress shoes collide with concrete, and couples help each other to their cars. Asking questions about great-grandma, death and heaven my daughter holds the net. With a little help she scoops up a rainbow, its sides the color of roses placed carefully next to the church entrance. Water carries us downstream and snow melts on the edge of the sidewalk. It all flows to the same ocean and we are eternally connected.